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SpaceX Launch Delayed AGAIN: Shooting for July

Jun 23, 2014 04:53 PM EDT
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After a slew of delays for SpaceX's latest Falcon 9 launch, the private space flight company has decided to "stand down" on Tuesday, waiting on an extended evaluation from its team of engineers.

Initially, after three consecutive delays, the company had slated the Falcon 9 launch to occur Tuesday morning. However, in an abundance of caution, the company's engineering team has requested additional time to "ensure the highest possible level of mission assurance prior to flight."

"SpaceX is taking a closer look at a potential issue identified while conducting pre-flight checkouts during yesterday's countdown," the private company said in an update on Monday. "SpaceX will stand down Tuesday while our engineering teams evaluate further, which will also allow the Range to move forward with previously scheduled maintenance."

This is the fourth delay of targeted launch times of the Orbcomm OG2 mission. For this mission, SpaceX was commissioned to carry six key machine-to-machine communications satellites on the Falcon 9 rocket.

These spacecraft will join 25 operating first-generation satellites and two additional satellites dedicated to tracking shipping - reportedly expanding Orbcomm's capacity to send larger amounts of tracking data and messages to clients at faster speeds.

Orbcomm is reportedly paying $42 million for SpaceX to send a total of 17 small second-generation satellites into orbit, according to SpaceFlightNow. This first launch, however, is just the first of two Falcon 9 launches for the Orbcomm mission, potentially delaying the overall mission success.

The First potential launch was scheduled for May 10, but the launch was delayed after a leak in the rocket's helium pressurization system was detected. Following that, SpaceX again attempted to launch on June 20. That too was aborted due to a problem with one of the satellites on board. The following Saturday launch attempt was unusually blacked out to media, and was delayed anyways due to lightning over Cape Canaveral. Since then, streaming and media access has been restored.

Now technical issues in preflight testing on Sunday have delayed the flight once again, with the private space flight company aiming to try again early July.

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